Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't Mess With The Building Plan, You May End Up Paying Fine

This news is for those who built their houses on their own whims and fancies. If you installed a washbasin where it was not meant to be or constructed a new wall to get another room, the MCD will hunt you and slap a fine. The civic agency has decided to survey all properties in the city including posh approved colonies to find out if any unauthorised construction has been carried out. Property owners who, after getting their building plan sanctioned, made certain deviations to the original plan by constructing an additional partition wall, a new wash basin, extended their balconies, etc., will be fined. The civic agency is hoping to earn R25 crore through this exercise. "There are thousands of property owners who had got their building plans sanctioned many years back and have made many changes to their houses. Rather than demolishing those structures, we want them to get it regularised by paying a fine. A survey to ascertain the deviations made in those properties will be carried out this year," said Mr Yogender Chandolia, chairman of MCD's Standing Committee. Officials of MCD said the fine can range between R5,000 to R1 lakh, depending on the deviations.
21 Jan 2011 Hindustan Times

Unauthorized Colonies To Be Kept Out Of Property Tax Net

In a meeting with the L-G, Mr Tejendra Khanna, in the presence of MCD commission, it is learnt that unauthorized colonies will now be kept out of property tax net. According to Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr JP Agarwal, who led a delegation to protest against the issue of notice being served to unauthorized colonies, the L-G has agreed that the notice should be revoked. "The L-G has also assured that the MCD will not issue fresh notices to people living in unauthorized colonies and if need be process will be initiated to amend the rules or laws to protect the interest of people living in these colonies. MCD commissioner was also present at the meeting," said Mr Agarwal.

19 Jan 2011

Delhi Spared From Property Tax Hike

With the legislative wing of the MCD rejecting a proposal for across-the-board hike, Residents of Delhi have been spared a 5% hike in property tax this year. Not only this, to ensure that more development work is carried out in the run up to the municipal elections in 2012, the civic body has increased allocation of funds for roads, sanitation services and streetlights in its budget for the next financial year. The chairman of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Mr Yogender Chandolia, formally rejected the proposed tax hike while finalising the budget estimates for 2011-12. The hike was proposed by municipal commissioner Mr KS Mehra in December last year.

21 Jan 2011 Hindustan Times

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Truths:- When to buy? Work profile! Peripheral expenses! Marital status! Culture clash!!

The Reserve Bank of India is most likely to increase bank lending rates, considering the immediate need to curb inflation. On its own, an increase in lending rates would probably not have a very significant effect on the residential property market. However, there are already a number of negatives at play such as overpricing in large cities.

Also, there is a dearth of appropriately priced projects in the low-to-mid income segments, though there are a huge number of projects in the pipeline.

The RBI move to raise lending rates will add to the stress already building up and hasten a correction of 15-20 per cent in the pricing of residential properties.

In such a scenario, the question is whether you should go in for buying a house of your own.

When to buy?

There is a school of thought that would encourage you to buy a home as soon as you can afford it, or as soon as your loan application is approved. In fact, the only question one tends to ask is whether property prices and interest rates are manageable at the time of buying a house. On the surface, this makes sense. But not always.

From an investment point of view, buying a house is often like buying gold and putting it in the bank. This is true to some extent.

Investments in real estate, historically, have given very good returns, if held for a long period. Buying property today, therefore, does make a certain amount of financial sense.

Buying a house means security, and security is important to any family of any generation.

It is one of the few long-term investments with practical utility — after all, you’re not going to put the house in a bank for it to appreciate in value. You’re going to live in it. But also keep in mind the fact that an investment in property needs time to yield good returns.

Before utilising your loan or putting your own money down, calibrate the options well to judge whether your investments today will yield the desired results when you plan to sell them.

With the social structure in India decaying slowly, there are a host of factors that need to be kept in mind before making such a huge investment.

Work profile

The reason why a home loan company digs so deep into the nature and situation of a client’s job is that they need to gauge how reliable a risk he is. There are certain jobs that inspire more confidence because of the stability they offer.

This stability is not judged by the take-home income but the potential consistency. Therefore, if you are applying for a home loan, it would be best to make a personal evaluation.

If you are a frequent job-hopper, suffer from poor health or have a long history of dismissals, you will do well to first set your career in order before applying. Even if your application is accepted, how well are you equipped to pay the EMIs (equated monthly installments)? With the loan granted, you will be able to utilise it more productively only when things are a little more stable on your professional front.

Peripheral expenses

Another factor to consider are the peripheral expenses. If you are using the services of a real estate broker, you will be liable to pay him a certain amount of money once the deal is finalised.

There are also various legal formalities, including property and registration taxes. See for yourself whether you are in a position to take care of these expenses when they arise.

Marital status

There are both practical and less definable reasons for assessing your marital situation before contemplating the purchase of a home. A shaky or troubled marriage is definitely not conducive for buying a home.

The contemporary Indian psyche assumes that marital problems will get ironed out once the decisive step of buying a home is taken. The facts, however, suggest something else. Let us consider the purely financial point of view.

Many couples take joint home loans. When a marriage is stable, this has many advantages. When it is not, the consequences can be quite disastrous. Payment of EMIs in the case of separation or divorce can become a major legal issue. Even in the case of outright purchase, actual ownership of the property will become a subject of dispute if a couple choose to separate.

So, it is erroneous to think that by buying a home one can put a troubled relationship in order.

Culture clash

A sudden change of geography is another factor you should consider before actually investing in a property. A major mistake repatriating NRIs usually commit is to buy a home arbitrarily without considering the cultural clash they might face once they start living in India.

After spending a few years in a foreign nation, people tend to assimilate that country’s culture and adopt a certain lifestyle. Such a lifestyle may be hard to replicate in India, no matter how progressive the city of choice is. The same feeling of alienation and displacement can overwhelm property buyers who decide to settle down in an unfamiliar city.

If you ask a financial consultant about whether the time is ripe to buy a residence, he will probably raise only one point — will you be able to keep the property long enough to make it pay as an investment? All these factors are worth thinking about before taking the plunge of buying a home.


Friday, January 21, 2011

RBI Strictures on Home Loans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), concerned over excessive flow of banking funds to the real estate sector, ruled that lenders will provide loans only up to 80 per cent of the cost of property. Following the RBI directive, a homebuyer will necessarily have to arrange at least 20 per cent of the property value on his own before seeking a loan from a bank. With a view to check speculation in the real estate sector, the apex bank has made it tougher for banks to provide high value loans for properties costing more than Rs 75 lakh, besides raising the provision requirement for loans provided at ‘teaser rates’. “In order to prevent excessive leveraging, the LTV (Loan to Value) ratio in respect of housing loan hereafter should not exceed 80 per cent,” the RBI said in a notification. However, in case of small value housing loans up to Rs 20 lakh, banks can provide loans up to 90 per cent of the property value, the RBI stated, adding that such loans are part of priority sector advances. In absence of any LTV norms, banks have been providing liberal loans for buying homes, going up to 90 per cent of the asset value. In order to curb the practice of attracting homebuyers by offering cheaper rates for limited period, RBI raised the provisioning requirement for banks for teaser rates from 0.4 per cent to 2 per cent with immediate effect. Under the revised norms, the banks will have to set aside more capital as provision against home loans given at teaser rates. Some banks including ICICI Bank, HDFC, etc. have already withdrawn their teaser rates scheme while SBI’s scheme would continue till this month. The announcement follows the concerns expressed by RBI Governor D Subbarao in his half-year review of the monetary policy in October. The decision, the RBI said, is aimed at “preventing excessive speculation in the high value housing segment”. The RBI measures would dissuade banks from providing advances that fuels speculative activity in the real estate sector. As regards the high value properties, the RBI stated, the risk weight for housing loans above Rs 75 lakh would be 125 per cent. Risk weight refers to the capital, which the banks have to set aside against outstanding loans to meet the capital adequacy norms. Currently, as per the Basel-II norms, banks have to maintain a capital adequacy of 9 per cent. For high value home loans the banks will now be required to set high aside more capital to meet the capital adequacy norms prescribed by the RBI. These measures by the RBI are bound to keep investments in the real estate sector safer and bring about some much needed stability in the financial market. 

                                  Source:- Indiapropertis

Hans Rosling: Asia's rise -- how and when

Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world's dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.

"Hans Rosling: Asia's rise -- how and when"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now draw cash from kirana store

MUMBAI: Withdrawing cash from the neighbourhood kirana store has finally become a reality. ICICI Bank and ICICI Merchant Services—a company majority owned by US First Data Corporation—have started enabling cash withdrawal facilities among merchants that have their credit card swipe machines. 

Banks would need to make some minor changes in their systems to enable their debit card holders withdraw cash. ICICI Bank has already made these changes and its debit cardholders can start withdrawing cash from merchants who have been enrolled for cash withdrawals. 

The withdrawals will be subject to a daily limit of Rs 1,000 and will attract a charge of Rs 10 for every transaction. A portion of the charge will be shared between the banks and the merchant who pays out the cash. At present, only a handful of merchants have been enrolled into the scheme but the number is expect to grow sharply in coming months. 

“All of our 1.5 lakh merchants can become part of this. In future this cash-at-POS model could be used to drive other services like government annuity payment or remittance services ,” said Amrish Rau, country manager, First Data. “It will really pick up in areas where ATMs have not proliferated . Also, Reserve Bank of India guidelines allow merchants to act as business correspondents of banks and this could be used to promote financial inclusion,” he added. 

The facility is not intended to replace ATMs but to make available new channels closer to the customer. As against 75,000 ATMs in India, there are over 5 lakh point-of-sale terminals. This number is expected to double in a few years because of new entrants in the business. 

Source:- The Economics Times
              19 JAN, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Global project finance market up 54%

LONDON: The global project finance market , which finances energy and infrastructure projects, jumped 54% in 2010 to $228 billion according to research published today by Thomson Reuters and its Project Finance International (PFI) publication. 

The Indian market, financed mainly by local banks, leapt from $30 billion to $55 bilion. Activity by the multilateral agencies supporting projects in the emerging markets increased from $20.5 billion to $27 billion while the global bond market recovered from its 2009 low by doubling in volume to $20 billion. 

Such is the growth in the Indian market, the local banks will now need assistance in financing schemes going forward. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is looking at reforming guidelines on refinancing infrastructure schemes with international debt, according to a report in today's PFI. International banks and multilateral agencies are now starting to fund Indian projects. 

Loan volumes in the Americas rose $5 billion to $25.5 billion but both the US and Canada saw big jumps in bond issuance. Loan volumes in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region rose $20 billion to $84 billion and in Asia they rose to $100 billion - aided by India and a big one-off deal in Taiwan. 

The number of advisory mandates won, which show the pipelines of going forward fell to 411 from 488. There was a big drop EMEA where the problems associated with the private finance initiative (PFI) in the UK came home to roost. UK PFI volumes fell to 2 billion pounds from a peak of 8.2 billion pounds as the new government cut back the PFI. However European PFI volumes rose to 11.2 billion euros - although this market could be impacted by austerity programmes going forward. 

SBI Capital , Bank of Taiwan and IDBI topped the global loan arranging table while RBS topped the global bond tables. PWC topped the global advisory deals closed table closely followed by RBC and Macquarie. The leading multilateral agencies came from Germany, Japan, China and South Korea.

Source:Economic Times

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Indian students offer micro-loans to rickshaw pullers

NEW DELHI, Jan When students at Delhi University's College of Commerce saw rickshaw pullers being beaten near campus, they didn't call a police officer. They called a bank.

Calling the police would have been pointless, said Ajay, a rickshaw puller from the eastern state of Bihar, India, who asked that his last name not be used. The abusers in question are contractors from whom pullers rent their vehicles each day.

“I have been beaten several times by my rickshaw owner behind closed doors as I was not able to pay him his daily rent of 40 rupees (88 cents),” Ajay said. But "we cannot protest against it ... as we depend on the rickshaws provided by them for our livelihood."

Instead, the students joined with a local bank and created a micro-loan program, Life on Wheels. The loans enable pullers to buy their own vehicles and escape the exploitative rental system, said Abhay Kumar, a faculty adviser of the student group, Students in Free Enterprise. The group is an international non-governmental organization that mobilizes university students in developing the community.

“We took it upon ourselves to rescue them from such torture," Kumar said.

The program helps pullers acquire loans to buy their own rickshaws, which would be challenging otherwise. Most rickshaw pullers leave rural regions to work in large Indian cities then send their hard-earned savings home.

“We have tied up with Punjab National Bank for providing loans to the pullers. SRCC stands as guarantor for them,” Kumar said.

Pullers are loaned about $230, which they must pay back at a rate of about $5.50 per week. With regular payments, they can call a rickshaw their own within 12 months, according to Mehak Nanner, the student group president. The loans also cover the cost of insurance, licenses, and two sets of uniforms.

The new rickshaws are an upgrade from those the pullers usually rent. They have amenities for passengers, such as dust bins, water bottles, newspaper stands and cushioned seats.

“At present there are 42 such rickshaws plying on the roads of Delhi University north campus,” Nanner said.

Students launched their first five rickshaws in December 2009 with the support of Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, said Radhika Goel, the student group's 2009 president.

“It was a proud moment for us as Ms. Dikshit praised the efforts of the youth and encouraged us more,” Goel said.

The group had expected to launch 75 of the new rickshaws before the Commonwealth Games in October 2010 but a ban on rickshaws during the event hindered progress, Nanner said.

Now, the plan is back on track with another 60 rickshaws expected to hit the roads in the next few months, she said.

It’s an initiative that has given a new lease on life to the rickshaw pullers.

“I will finally own a rickshaw of my own,” said Sapan, a puller who also asked that his last name not be used, as he gazed at his new vehicle.

Santosh Sharma, who is at the top of the list to receive one of the new rickshaws, said he is ecstatic.

“This rickshaw will provide me with a particular status within the rickshaw community,” he said.

Kumar said that not all pullers qualify for the program.

“Some criteria have been set for the pullers who would like to own [the] rickshaws,” he said, such as having government-issued identity cards.

Puller Gautam Singh said that while he’s excited about the new opportunity, he regrets the 15 years that he spent pulling a rented rickshaw.

“I was a slave in the hands of my master,” he said. “The amount of rent that I have paid to my owner to date would have easily fetched me around 35 to 40 rickshaws."

Singh, however, is more focused on the present upside of the new rickshaw program than any possible negatives. Taking a firm grip on his new black rickshaw, he offers his passenger a newspaper to read for his short journey and moves smoothly out into traffic.

Source: UPI.COM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big not necessarily safe in banking: RBI

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India has changed its stance on bank consolidation arguing that advantages of scale have been diluted after the global financial crisis. The comment was made by RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn in the context of increasing depth of banking services in the country. 

Speaking at a seminar on infrastructure finance organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), Gokarn said, "There is some debate that has not been resolved as to what the right size of a bank should be. I am sure that it is a function of a lot of variables, but at the end of the day the unambiguous argument in favour of size has beendiluted somewhat by the experience of the crisis, rightly or wrongly so." 

The deputy governor said that RBI has been exploring the issue of new licences of late and clearly felt a need to build new capacity in the banking system. "You could argue that new capacity does not necessarily mean new institutions and new capacity could be created by existing players as well, and the point about banks being relatively small has been raised. I think there are two sides to this issue. Yes, there are benefits of economies of scale and the ability of banks to deliver services more efficiently as they grow in size. But as we have started to emphasize in the wake of the crisis that large banks are not necessarily safe banks and the larger they get the more of a risk they pose to the system." 

In his presentation, Gokaran highlighted the benefits of competition in other sectors and said that there was no reason why similar benefits should not accrue to the banking industry

Source: Times of India

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bihar’s Growth Fine Print India’s poorest state has been posting impressive GDP growth.

Since the start of 2009, Bihar’s growth rate was one of those rare state-level economic variables hotly debated and discussed throughout the country. 

Reports of Bihar being the fastest growing state in the country made every one sit up. Despite many academics and journalists poring over its economic data, consensus on its true growth rate has yet to be reached. And given that state-wise economic growth data tends to get reconciled with a lag of two years, consensus is elusive.

A cursory look at Bihar’s growth figures over the last decade explains why they lend themselves to such varied interpretations and analysis. Not only has the yearly growth rate swung wildly every year, the data also gets revised from the initial estimates. The initial estimates for 2007-08 and 2008-09 were nowhere near the final figures (see graph). As a result, the analysis on Bihar’s economy and Nitish Kumar’s rule could change between February and March (when the last state economic survey was released) since Bihar no longer grew at 6.35 percent — it grew at a more remarkable 10.74 percent.  

Infographic: Hemal Sheth

Given the volatile characteristic of growth data, observers like Shaibal Gupta of the Patna-based Asia Development Research Institute feel that Bihar’s economic growth has yet to stabilise and as such, it is too early to comment based on the growth data alone. 

 Praveen Jha, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University stops short of saying that the figures are fudged. “The volatility is simply inexplicable. In fact, a committee led by state cabinet minister, Jagdanand Singh, during the last year of RJD (Lalu Prasad’s party) rule concluded that the data collected within the state is not reliable,” points out Jha, who has done a detailed analysis of Bihar’s growth rate. 

A look at Gujarat, which is close to two and half times Bihar’s economy and is seen by many as the fastest growing state in the country today, reveals a crucial difference. While the growth rate in Gujarat may occasionally decelerate from one year to another, it never registers negative growth or an actual decline in the state GDP. Bihar, on the other hand, is habituated to going two steps forward and one step back. Arresting this tendency could just be the key thing that Nitish Kumar needs to focus on in his second term. 

Source: Forbes India

Expensive Real Estate Markets are Due For A Correction

In late November, soon after environment minister Jairam Ramesh gave the green signal for Mumbai’s second airport, property prices around its location shot up by 20 percent. This was the same area that, even six months ago, real estate consultants and analysts were advising investors to stay away from. They reasoned that the prices had run up way too quickly. Today, the same professionals are recommending buying select properties in the same area at higher prices.

If these professionals had got it wrong once, what is the guarantee they will not get it wrong again? There are so many unanswered questions about the part of Navi Mumbai where the airport will come up. Where will the proposed Metro station be? Which areas will be most affected by aircraft noise? Where will commercial development happen?

The airport example is illustrative of the shape of things to come in 2011 for real estate buyers, both residential and commercial. As metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are retrofitting old buildings and seeing an infrastructure upgrade, a lot of real estate action is becoming visible.

While the investor can put money in stocks of real estate companies or invest in a private equity fund to play the property market, these still remain niche opportunities. For the vast majority, investment in land and concrete is the preferred option. So, what should be their strategy in 2011?

To begin with, initial signals are mixed. After a long while, Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC), the king of mortgages, is offering to pay a 9 percent annual interest to fixed deposit holders. This could mean that the company will eventually lend at 11 percent upwards. In short, borrowing to buy a property is going to become a costlier affair. This means only a two-digit percentage appreciation will yield a return rivaling fixed deposit rates for the investor.

Added to this, the liquidity in the banking system is getting tighter. All this will result in a correction in expensive markets. Analysts predict residential property prices will correct between 10-25 percent in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai. An analysis by Liases Foras, a Mumbai-based real estate research firm, shows that each of these cities has over apartment inventory worth 22 months.

In Bangalore and Pune, the inventory is lower at 19 and 12 months respectively. Coupled with the fact that prices of real estate have increased quickly and are close to their peaks, the oversupply is expected to hasten a correction. “The imminent dip may well be a good entry point for home buyers in these cities,” says Pankaj Kapoor, CEO of Liases Foras.

The story, however, is quite different for commercial real estate. The effect of the sunset clause over the Software Technology Parks regulations announced in the last budget is now beginning to take effect. A joint report by property consultants James Lang LaSalle, business consulting firm KPMG and Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), says that a healthy demand for IT/IT Special Economic Zone (SEZ) space is already visible from the second half of 2010. 

The report says that the demand for IT SEZ space in cities such as Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata is likely to be robust in 2011, as the deadline for notifying an SEZ is March 2012. Top IT companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro have already announced that they will be hiring upwards of 100,000 people during the next year as per business growth projections. This trend will bring some cheer to India’s top real estate companies like Delhi-based Unitech, which has a lot of IT SEZ stock in Delhi. 

For other commercial spaces, due to depressed demand, the capital values of properties fell much faster than the rental income across cities. In Mumbai, for example, Lower Parel property values fell by 30-40 percent as against rentals, which fell between 20-30 percent. Say Himadri Mayank and Abhishek Kiran Gupta, authors of the report: “The trend of outright purchases by occupiers and private equity players of commercial places is expected to continue in 2011.”

So where should the home buyers and investors put their money in? There are essentially two themes playing out in the Indian real estate sector. One is the re-fitment or re-development of old properties and the other being development of new infrastructure like Metro rail and airport across the country. “Marquee properties are the ones that set new record for prices. It will be a good idea to buy premium properties by reputed builders,” says Ramesh Jogani, managing director of Indiareit Fund Advisors, which manages over Rs. 1,900 crore.

Among his recommendations: Kurla, a rundown Mumbai suburb, for its proximity to Bandra Kurla Complex, the city’s financial district; premium apartments in Pune near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Hadapsar, where large colonies are located.

Investments apart, for buyers and investors, the single biggest change in the sector in 2011 is likely to be the establishment of a real estate regulator. A regulator will bring in standardisation of processes, improve transparency in deals and offer a dispute resolution forum. All this will cut the risk for investors. Thus the mature phase of Indian real estate may just be beginning.

Source: Forbes India

Monday, January 3, 2011

Australian investors could lose millions on US rental properties

Australian property investors risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars after snapping up thousands of US housing bargains at forced-sale prices, experts have warned.

The lure of a perfect property storm

Emboldened by the soaring local dollar, Australians invested about $600 million on US residential property last year, according to the Washington-based National Association of Realtors, as overseas buying of US housing doubled.

But consumer advocate Neil Jenman predicts that thousands of Australians will lose their money after unwittingly buying undesirable property.

''It's going to be a calamity, for sure and certain,'' he says.

Many investors are being lured by agents promising unrealistically high rental returns.

Investment experts say swathes of properties on offer are in bad neighbourhoods where it would be almost impossible to get a tenant, and even harder to get your money back if you decide to sell up down the track.

In the past six months, Australian companies that help investors buy US residential property have reported a big surge in interest. Vincent Selleck of Byron Bay-based buyer's agent 888 US Real Estate says his business has grown fivefold since June.

The robust local dollar means Australians' purchasing power in the US hasn't been this strong since the Aussie floated in 1983.

At the same time, bank-forced house sales mean the US residential property market has been flooded with millions of homes at bargain-basement prices.

US property spruikers are promising net rental returns of up to 20 per cent on properties that can be picked up cheaply.

Mr Jenman says the situation is creating a window of opportunity for investors who are prepared to do the research, travel to the US and make suitable purchases.

For everyone else, it's a recipe for potential disaster.

''Some of the properties being offered are in ghettos and you need a bulletproof vest and an armoured Humvee to collect the rent in there,'' Mr Jenman says.

''Tenants also have more rights in the US and if they don't clear the garbage up, it can be the landlord who gets fined - there are a lot more legal issues.''

Some Australians are already finding that after they buy their US property ''bargain'' and spend more money to renovate it to an acceptable standard, they can't find a tenant. Vandals and opportunists often strip renovated properties of their fittings if they remain unoccupied.

Chris Gray, chief executive of property portfolio manager Empire, said Australians had limited understanding of foreign property markets.

''Buying a house for $40,000 might seem like a bargain but how do you know that the house isn't really worth $20,000?,'' he said

''It's a bit like pyramid selling where it goes well only until it goes wrong, and then virtually everyone loses apart from a couple of people at the very top.''

Paul Moran of Paul Moran Financial Planning says potential investors need to be very wary of what is being offered. Mr Moran has clients who are making property investments in the US work and he is not against it for the right investor.

''But in each case, the client had good knowledge of the US residential market, went to the US and inspected the property and bought it themselves - and they are getting good returns,'' he says.

Unlike Australia, there is a surplus of homes in the US and many well-known cities are contracting. The city of Buffalo, for example, where the population has fallen from 600,000 to fewer than 300,000, has created an ''Anti-Flipping Task Force'' to try to eliminate the unethical sale of vacant foreclosed properties online for inflated prices.

888 US Real Estate's Mr Selleck said investors should consider their own risk profile before buying into the US market, and had to understand it would take up to three years for the housing market to start to show capital growth. ''We are expecting another 3 million foreclosures in the US in the next 12 months,'' he said.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Watch It: The World is Mine

The World is Mine

Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman.
And wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it'd do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, "I thank you,
you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you.
You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
"Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn't hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I've been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

If this poem makes you feel thankful, just forward it to your
friends. After all, it's just a simple reminder that we have so much
to be thankful for!

Watch It: